Former BART Cop Faces New Threat

A Virginia man will stand trial for allegedly posting online death threats against a San Francisco Bay area police officer who killed an unarmed man.
A federal judge in Roanoke said Monday there's enough evidence to try Jeffrey L. Weaver on a charge of transmitting threatening communications across state lines.

Prosecutors say the target was Johannes Mehserle, who has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the New Year's Day shooting on an Oakland train platform.

According to court documents, the 48-year-old Weaver -- using the identity "F-ThePIGS" -- wrote three messages to Mehserle in January on the Web site of conservative radio talk show host Alex Jones.

Weaver admitted to FBI agents in May that he made the postings. His lawyer, Fay Spence, says they weren't meant to be direct threats and were just part of a "spirited discussion."

As for Mehserle's upcoming trial on murder charges, his lawyer says he intends to file a change of venue in the case.

Defense Attorney Michael Rains said he does not believe Johannes Mehserle will get a fair trial in Alameda County. He cited two judges' comments that they did not believe his defense that he accidentally grabbed his pistol instead of his stun gun.

"It would be nice to think that Mr. Mehserle can get a fair trial in Alameda County, but it's clear to me that he can't and he won't," Rains said Friday. "And it's not just because the potential jury pool has been infected."

The shooting on the Oakland train station platform New Year's Day, which was caught on several cell phone videos, began circulating on the Internet and television and led to numerous protests and arrests.

On Thursday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay ruled Mehserle will stand trial on murder following a
seven-day preliminary hearing. Clay said before issuing his judgment, "There is no doubt in my mind Mr. Mehserle meant to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun, not a Taser."

In January, Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson told Mehserle before granting him $3 million bail that the ex-officer was willing to "make up something that's not true" to justify shooting Grant.

Rains said in addition to those comments, he wants a venue change because Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff tried to get Oakland police officers to interview Mehserle without a lawyer after his Jan. 13 arrest in Nevada.

The state attorney general's office has said Orloff acted legally.

Rains also said Clay's decision not to allow a Taser training expert to testify Thursday, as well as calling a video analyst's testimony "not relevant," factored in his decision. Rains said he plans to file a venue change motion roughly a month before a trial begins.
Mehserle's next court appearance is scheduled for June 18.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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